Throughout the succeeding weeks, Jonas formed such an interestingly intimate relationship with these kids that on the nights when he wasn�t working in the street, he would often invite them up to his apartment where he could better display the true expanse of his collection. Not only was the attention of these children a pleasant and simple comfort to him, but through their presence Jonas found that he was discovering a certain character within himself that had before been unknown, and with this new character also came an entirely untarnished method of thought which ultimately allowed him a new perception and feeling into the nature of the facts he endeavored to discuss. When the kids happened to ask about a certain piece of opal that sat on his desk � where, if he knew the kids were coming over, the picture of his wife was also put on an equal display � Jonas would, without meditation, expatiate not only on the basic properties and appearance of the opal, but would append the information with the equally significant personal history he shared with the piece: what the weather had been like on the day he had found it, the pleasant look of elation on his wife�s face when she sprang up from the sand, the birds that had circled overhead. When Jonas gazed into one of his gems it was as if he were submitting himself to the converse of a crystal ball, so clear and vivid were the details of his reverie. Through the basic presence of these children Jonas was awakened to the historical sensation of his own life, the result of which could only work to impress their minds that much more deeply and indelibly with the actual facts of each stone: if ever-after they came across a sample of turquoise, or noticed the multi-faceted cut of a diamond, or were captivated by the interior cosmos of a geode, their appreciation would be further stimulated by the imagined joy of Jonas�s wife, the shadow that came through his window, or the look on his face when he held a particular stone into the light. These nights would have continued indefinitely if it hadn�t always been for one of the kids � having waited for the appropriate moment when it seemed the momentum of Jonas� recollections was about to ebb � regretting to say how they had to leave, at which point Jonas would lower his hand away from the lamplight and escort them to the door.
In spite of the new excitement of these nights and how easily he seemed to lose track of time, no event was consuming enough to deter Jonas from calling his wife. Though it was an assumed ritual for them to discuss every detail of their days, from what they had for breakfast to the present account of their stones, Jonas found it impossible to mention to his wife the nature of his new acquaintance. He decidedly omitted this detail of his daily accounts for reasons which did not concern his wife�s reaction, or the fear she wouldn�t understand, but because, in truth, he didn�t quite understand it himself. When she asked what he had done during the night, the space his new friendship had filled was occupied by an intense light similar to the one he used to illuminate the surface of his stones.
�I love you dear.�
�I love you too.�
�Be safe until I see you next.�
�And don�t forget to tell little darling that I�ve finally found her a surprise.�
�You spoil her too much.�
�She may only have a few years left. I�d like to treat her while I still can.�
�Alright, I�ll be sure and tell her.�
Raymond used his foot to push open the door. He held his breath and counted to three before timidly stepping into the room. Jonas sat in the middle of the floor, passing his empty hands through a funnel of sunlight. Raymond stepped over the boxes and knelt down next to Jonas on the floor. A shadow suddenly overcast the room.
�Did they take everything?� Raymond asked, resting his hand on Jonas� shoulder.
As if he hadn�t noticed the immediate absence of light, Jonas passed his hands through the air one final time before walking over to the window and closing the blinds.
�I told you to fix that lock.� Raymond looked back over his shoulder to where the rusty hinge had fallen to the floor.
Though Jonas was yet to respond verbally to any of his friend�s questions, it was somehow apparent that he still was listening: silently nodding when Raymond asked about what they had taken; silently shaking his head when he mentioned the broken hinge. Jonas began pacing around the room, wringing his hands behind his back as he kicked empty cardboard boxes out of his way.
�Did they take everything?� Raymond asked again.
Jonas extended his empty hands as if everything of value had once been held in them, but was obviously not in them anymore. Bracing himself on the edge of his upturned desk, Jonas pulled back the blinds to look out the window. He was surprised to see the kids already standing in line outside of the venue, leaning against the brick wall with tickets in their hands. He noticed how the sun seemed to shine brightly on certain parts of their body, especially around their hands and necks. Trying to look more closely, yet also attempting to remain unseen, Jonas saw that these kids were outfitted with a very similar kind of jewelry to what he had previously sold: hanging from around their necks were silver chains strung with a variety of magnificent stones; around their wrists were thick bracelets ornamented by the jewels which seemed unable to fit on their chains; their fingers were lined with rings of turquoise, opal, amber, and jade.
�The way things happen all at once,� Jonas sighed as he pressed his hand against the cracked picture of his wife.
When the doorbell rang early one morning, Jonas, still in a daze, accidentally answered the door. Standing in front of him was a middle-aged man in a grey suit, and in his hand was a large manila envelope which, with such informal arrogance and necessity, he extended toward Jonas�s chest. Instead of blindly adding the envelope to the ever-growing pile in the corner of his bedroom, Jonas sat down on the floor and opened it. At first glance there didn�t appear to be anything inside, but when he turned the envelope upside down a sterling silver chain fell into his lap. Wrapping the chain around his fingers, Jonas blew open the envelope and looked closely to see if there was anything else inside, figuring to at least find a small pendant or piece of jewelry, but there was nothing. Jonas hung the chain on a coat rack and slid the empty envelope into the bottom of the pile in his room.
BIO: Dustin Michael-Edward Davenport was born in Kalamazoo, MI on May 11, 1986. His first novel, Myth of Melody, is in search of wide-spread publication.